Shandaken Board supports Scenic Byway plan
By Jay Braman Jr.
Against a backdrop, once again, of claims that it will not cost the town anything, the Shandaken Town Board endorsed the creation of a new entity in an attempt to get a scenic byway designation for the area.
Plans for a Scenic Byway designation for a 50-mile chunk of the Route 28 corridor have been bogged down in the eastern portion of the region, and one community has already officially opted out of the program.
Seven municipalities fall within the area, starting on the western end in Delaware County with the Town of Andes, then covering the Town of Middletown and the villages of Margaretville and Fleischmanns. To the east, in Ulster County, the towns of Shandaken, Olive and Hurley round out the group.
All four Delaware County communities have officially endorsed the Byway plan, as have Shandaken and Olive.
It was the Town of Hurley that opted out of the plan. The town that was the gateway, sandwiched between Kingston and Olive, Hurley voted to drop out of the Byway two years ago due to concerns over a loss of home rule when it comes to land use along the Route 28 corridor.
The move followed several months of debate over the issue, with supporters of the Byway plan shouting long and loud that there would not be any loss of home rule. Supporters also insist that a Scenic Byway designation would open up opportunities for grant funds to pay for projects that would enhance the communities along the highway corridor, as well as several miles of Route 214 in Phoenicia and Route 42 in Shandaken.
At last week’s Shandaken Town Board meeting, the board passed a resolution to establish a “Scenic Byway Management Entity,” that will serve as a board of directors for the proposed Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway, should such a thing ever come to fruition.
The board of directors will consist of the supervisors of the towns and the mayors from both villages.
The same resolution also establishes an advisory board to the board of directors.
Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley explained that there are still no financial obligations attached to the Byway plan.
“The resolution further states that no entity shall be required to provide funding without formal support from the individual municipalities,” he said. “It requires that before any vote is taken by the board of directors, each member must receive approval or denial from their individual governing boards. This forces each municipality to make public any requests from the towns and villages.”